Skip to comments.Christians keep Hollywood profitable.
Posted on 12/10/2005 4:37:25 AM PST by Aussie Dasher
Thats what Barbara Nicolosi, who teaches Christians the art of screenwriting, told Godspy, an online magazine, in a recent interview.
A Christian project saved the global box office from 2001 to 2003 with Tolkiens trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Then another Christian project, The Passion of the Christ, saved the global cineplexes in 2004. And yet another Christian story is going to save the entertainment industry this year with C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Thats the movie that opens Dec. 9 and is based on the novel by Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, the 20th-century Anglican author who brought many people into the Catholic Church, though he never joined them.
Nicolosi is right, but theres more: Christian audiences have always proved Hollywoods most lucrative.
Look at the highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation).Three of the top 10 have Catholic themes: The Sound of Music, The Ten Commandments and The Exorcist. Half of the top 10 are family films.
The list of the top 100 is also full of surprises. Ben Hur comes in ahead of huge blockbusters like Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park. The Bells of St. Marys beats Return of the King and Spider-Man 2. And the amount of money taken in by The Passion of the Christ beats the legendary success of Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the first two Lord of the Rings movies.
With that kind of record, Catholics ask, why doesnt Hollywood make more movies for us? But thats a little like asking, If books by saints sell so well, why dont more authors become saints? The better question is: Why dont Catholics make more movies for Hollywood?
After all, communicating about God through art is a Catholic specialty. Even more than other Christians, Catholics appreciate the value of sounds, sights and smells to teach spiritual lessons. The Church uses images, stories and significant actions to convey spiritual realities. So do artists.
It should be no surprise that, in the golden years of Hollywood, Catholic filmmakers like John Ford, Frank Capra, Fred Zinnemann and others dominated the new art form.
What happened after that? Some remained, but as dissenting Catholics. Others turned against the Church angrily and criticized it. In many cases, believers were squeezed out by an insular Hollywood culture. But sins of omission probably played the biggest role in leaving Hollywood bereft of Catholic influence.
After all, to end up with a Catholic artist whose work draws power from a sacramental worldview, you need to start out with a Catholic who has been told what the sacraments are in the first place. Polls suggest that, for the past two decades, the Church hasnt done a very good job of catechizing.
Thus, movies, like the other arts, are another casualty of the Churchs failure to catechize Catholics in the 1960s and 70s. But that may be changing.
The pontificate of Pope John Paul II brought about a seismic shift in the Church. Now, a seismic shift isnt an earthquake its a shift deep down in the earth that starts inevitable changes that arent obvious until later. By teaching courageously and inspiring a youth movement, John Paul quietly but surely changed the direction of the Church at its most fundamental level.
After the long pontificate of John Paul, yesterdays energetic dissenters are out of energy, and the catechism teachers who were too embarrassed to catechize are more likely to be replaced by World Youth Day veterans excited by the faith.
And as young people are slowly becoming catechized again, they are growing up in a new cultural environment. Our children met Eucharistic adoration proponent J.R.R. Tolkien because hes a top draw at the theater. They associate Mel Gibson with Jesus Christ and the cross, not Mad Max and Lethal Weapon. For our children, an allegory about Christ is the movie sensation of this winter.
Yes, these improvements in catechesis and in the culture are small, incremental changes now. But if the number of Catholics who know their faith and see it validated by the culture keeps growing incrementally, it will one day hit a critical mass and begin growing exponentially.
We might be surprised to find that the seismic changes started by Pope John Paul II will move mountains in our lifetime.
Today, Christians are saving Hollywood at the box office. Tomorrow, movie theaters might just be one more place Christians save the culture.
Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by people who hate Christianity in general. Its not a secret, OK? And Im not afraid to say it. Its about Jesus Christ, and its about truth. Its about the messiah.
Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.
I don't know that I'd call The Ten Commandments 'Catholic.'
Is Hollywood a lost cause, and not worth saving?....... yup... Always has
You saw a version of "Spider-man" that I totally missed.
Among all the dreck and degradation are some nice little gems of movies.
This year The Great Raid with Benjamin Bratt was a good one.
In years gone by there was
The Rookie with Dennis Quaid
Frequency with Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel was a thriller that centered on family helping family and family healing.
Luther with Joseph Fiennes was a well done Protestant film.
Conagher with Sam Elliott and Katherine Ross
Forever Young with Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis had modern moments seen through the eyes of someone raised in an era when decency was the norm.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding was family centered
Return to Me with David Duchovny and Minner Driver was heart warming.
Signs with Mel Gibson was faith based
Spanglish with Adam Sandler and Tia Leone is a movie for real grown ups, one where moral values are the lifelines.
We Were Soldiers with Mel Gibson was a true story with faith a part of the story.
50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore was charming
National Treasure with Nicolas Cage was pretty good
Ice Age was cute
With all due respect, I don't see that their side has lost - yet.
And the Exorcist merely used catholics as props in the framework of the story.
Vertigo (Hickcock) had sexual content.
Sorry, films of the caliber you mention, are few and far between.
The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost.>>
40 million aborted babies disagree.
I do the screening, and pass on advice to others of where the wheat is to be found in all the chaff.
Anybody else have suggestions for decent modern films?
I guess that was sarcasm? :-)
If they win, Western Civilization will be finished.
North by Northwest gets a might racy.
Psycho talks about incest, and sexual lust.
Marnie has a rape scene, and quite a bit more.
Frenzy has a lot of sex and violence interwined.
Hitch was a bit of a dirty old man. He just wrapped a good film around the dirty bits.